The mechanism of motivation based on the pleasure-distress balance, i.e. a mechanism of “inner motivation” enables even signals very indirectly connected with satisfying a particular need to become a trigger for complex behavioral patterns. This – in consequence – makes it possible for the individual to react, not only to certain objects in the real world, but also to symbols that stand for the objects. It makes no difference whether these symbols are pheromones (i.e. chemicals primarily meant for communication between members of the same species), piles of droppings (rats’ markings for poisoned bait) or “Beware of the dog” warning signs on yard gates. The ability to mentally recognize symbols can finally lead to the emergence of consciousness, including self-consciousness. Consciousness and self-consciousness enable imagining situations and connections that have not appeared yet. Mostly, we can quite well imagine what would happen if we put our hand into a mad dog’s mouth without having to practically test the advantages or disadvantages of this kind of behavior.

Was this information useful for you?
The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more